Thanks to opening, funding, and spending over 100 hours testing accounts with eight different robo-advisors
, we know our robos inside and out. For this review, we will compare Merrill Edge Guided Investing vs Wealthfront to see which robo-advisor is better.
When it comes to financial advice and selecting an automated advisor, the total annual cost charged is significant. Most sites just look at the annual account management charge assessed. For an accurate comparison, however, you also have to take into consideration the annual management fees (expense ratios) charged by the ETF holdings themselves. We included both. Wealthfront is a better option with a 4.50 star rating over Merrill Edge Guided Investing's 3.00 star rating.
Features are also important to compare when selecting a robo-advisor. Some robos do a much better job than others with technology. Wealthfront makes tax-loss harvesting available to clients, while Merrill Edge Guided Investing does not. To make sure you ready for retirement and will have enough money saved, running a calculator is required. Wealthfront makes an advanced retirement calculator available to clients, while Merrill Edge Guided Investing does not. Setting financial goals and tracking them is also a feature customers desire. Wealthfront makes goal tracking available to clients, while Merrill Edge Guided Investing does not. Finally, syncing data from your other financial accounts (brokers, banks, etc) can open the door to deeper analysis of fees, holdings, and retirement planning. Wealthfront makes external accounts analysis available to clients, while Merrill Edge Guided Investing does not.
Lastly, some customers want access to customer service via web friendly methods such as live chat as a compliment to the standard phone and email options. Merrill Edge Guided Investing makes live chat support available to clients, while Wealthfront does not.
Overall, both Merrill Edge Guided Investing and Wealthfront hold a 4.00 star rating. And, as far as individual category awards go, Wealthfront posted awards Best in Class - Cost, while Merrill Edge Guided Investing found itself with Best in Class - Customer Service.